Toco Toucan

The Toco Toucan is only at home in the tropical rain forest of South America, living no where else in the world, yet it is known and loved by nearly everyone on every continent.

The Toucan has been made popular in television and advertising, its huge over sized bill, with its bright array of colors making it one of the most popular birds in the world.

The Toucans beak can be over seven inches long
The Toucans beak can be over seven inches long

The toucans beak may be at least 7 and a half inches long and is believed to be seen at one of the more desirable traits of the male when mating, but if so, it is a trait that both male and female possess as both have the brightly colored and elongated beak.

One of the mating rituals that both sexes take part in is a ritual fruit toss, where both male and female toucan pitch morsels of fruit to each other and catch them, using the large beaks during mating.

The bill, though it may look formidable is not a good weapon, since it is a bone, that is made of a rather honeycomb like substance, filled with a great deal of air, so it is neither hard nor strong.

The size of it might in fact keep predators at bay but it is very little use in fighting them.

The toucans bill is however of great use in feeding. The birds use the bill to help them to reach fruit on branches that are too small to support their weight, and also to skin their fruit and other food items, such as insects. Toucans also eat young birds, eggs, lizards and snakes.

Toucans live in groups called a flock that will contain about six birds per flock. Their bright colors are actually very good camouflage when it comes time to sit in the trees, in the dappled light of the rain forest canopy.

Toco Toucan
Toco Toucan

Since most of the toucans will keep up constant chatter however it seems they are not trying to remain hidden from anyone.

The toucan will nest in a large hole inside a tree, where she will lay two to four eggs, which both parents will incubate and help to care for. Small toucans are not born with the large bill, it is quite tiny actually and will grow with them, developing into the typical toucan bill about three months later.

The Toucan is a very popular pet and many are captured to supply the demand for the pet shop trade, as well as used to sell advertising items.

The Natives there seem to feel that the birds are more sacred and they are traditionally seen as a sort of telephone line between the worlds of the living and the spirits.

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